Tuesday, 12 November, 2019

Vietnamese women accused in murder of Kim Jong-nam freed

Siti Aisyah was released by a Malaysian court last month Siti Aisyah was released by a Malaysian court last month
Patty Aguilar | 05 May, 2019, 07:59

Malaysian authorities on Friday freed a Vietnamese woman who served two years in prison on suspicion of killing the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in 2017, Reuters quoted her lawyer as saying.

Kim Jong-nam had been waiting to board a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Macau on February 13, 2017 when the two women approached him in the departure area.

Doan Thi Huong accepted a deal with Malaysian prosecutors last month and pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of "causing injury", said a BBC News report. Huong reportedly hopes to pursue a singing and acting career after she returns to Vietnam.

The women instead insisted they were tricked into carrying out the hit by North Korean agents, who told them it was a reality TV show prank and fled Malaysia after the killing. Huong's lawyers have said she is expected to be taken to the immigration office before flying back to Hanoi later Friday.

Four North Koreans identified as suspects by Malaysian police left the country hours after the murder and remain at large.

More than two years after her arrest, the 30-year-old was freed from prison in the early morning, racing past journalists in a van with heavily tinted windows.

"I don't know what I will do but I want to be on stage, like an actress - that's what I want".

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Mr Hisyam told reporters at the airport "the case has come to a complete end" because prosecutors did not file any appeal against the sentence.

Weeks earlier, Indonesian Siti Aisyah - the only other person to face trial over the killing carried out with a banned nerve agent at Kuala Lumpur airport - was released and flew home after her murder charge was withdrawn.

She thanked the Malaysian and Vietnamese governments and "everybody who prayed for me in church and at home as well", he said.

"I am so happy now, my whole village is happy now", Thanh told Reuters by telephone.

South Korean and USA officials have said the North Korean authorities had ordered the assassination of Kim Jong Nam, who had been critical of his family's dynastic rule.

"We will slaughter some pigs for the party".

Lawyers for the women have said that they were pawns in a political assassination with clear links to the North Korean Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, and that the prosecution failed to show the women had any intention to kill. Officials said Kim Jong-nam had been trying to take over the isolated nation. He had been living overseas for years but could have been seen as a threat to Kim Jong Un's rule. The charge under Section 302 of the Penal Code carries a mandatory death penalty upon conviction.

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